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Residents Learn the Hard Way that Their Home Insurance Policy Isn’t the Same as Flood Insurance

Roy Hansen, 75, hopes Ian is the last close encounter he has with a hurricane.

“I don't want to do anything like this again. Just crazy. Insane,” said Hansen.

He wasn't sure he and his wife of 52 years would survive the rising waters in and around their home in South Lee County.

“I looked at her and she looked at me--I said is this the way we're supposed to go out. Treading water to our damn neck?” said Hansen.

Hansen said climbing into the attic saved their lives.

"We just told ourselves we're going to make it,” said Hansen.

Although much of their belongings were destroyed by water, they thought it was all going to be okay because they had insurance.

I thought I was actually covered for everything. You know, I didn't worried about a thing. Well I thought if it ruins everything. I guess maybe we'll get everything back. but we don't,” said Hansen.

That's because Hansen only has property insurance, not flood coverage. Just 18 percent of Floridians have flood insurance, according to an analysis by the Insurance Information Institute. Some homes in Hansen’s parts of town saw an eight to ten feet storm surge, that according to Meteorologist Megan Borowski with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. She says more Floridians need to think hard about buying flood coverage because of the state’s low elevations, frequent rainfall and susceptibility to hurricanes.

“My answer may be a little bit bold, but I think it’s a good call. Anybody who owns property in Florida should consider flood insurance especially if you are near the coast,” said Borowski.

Chris Curry, the president of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, says after an analysis of the damage caused by Ian, he expects FEMA to make changes to flood zone maps that will help owners in the future.

“FEMA will probably adapt their modeling and require a lot more flood insurance in some areas that were hit here and maybe beyond and maybe the mortgage companies will then adapt to that I’m sure and they may go beyond that,” said Curry.

Curry says Ian has also exposed the urgent need to educate homeowners that flood insurance isn’t part of their typical homeowner’s policy. But for Hansen it’s a lesson learned the hard way.

“I got nothing. Absolutely nothing,” said Hansen.

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